Flower garden and landscape

Tulips Growing from A to Z


Tulip fever, which began in Holland half a millennium ago and captured the whole world, continues today. There is not a single grower or gardener who would not dream of expanding his collection of tulip varieties and who would not be familiar with this special bulbous star. Tulips do not need to be introduced, but the nuances of this in their cultivation does not become less, as, however, the options for their use in the design of the garden.

Growing Tulips.


A simple portrait of a difficult tulip

Representing the Liliaceae family, tulips are without exaggeration the most popular and common bulbous. No less they can be called the most diverse, because the number of varieties and varieties of tulips is measured not by hundreds, but by tens of thousands, and the choice in shape, structure, color of flowers increases from year to year. Although it is not easy to understand the classification of tulips, it is impossible to confuse tulips with other bulbous ones.

Representatives of the Tulip genus are bulbous perennials with a modified stem. All plant organs are laid in a pear-shaped or ovoid bulb. Generations of bulbs change annually: during the growing season, young bulbs are laid, and the faded ones die off. The rudiments of peduncles and flower develop in the bulbs during the summer dormancy. In the fall, the bulbs take root, the process of laying the peduncle is completed, and after wintering, active growth and flowering occurs, and the cycle repeats again.

The development of tulips is so rapid that it is impossible not to be surprised at the shortened, but amazingly active vegetation of this bulb. Not only leaves and peduncles develop rapidly in tulips, but also onions, roots, and daughter bulbs. On average, in regions with severe winters, the entire vegetation of tulips covers only 3 months from the formation of leaves to flowering and the formation of replacing bulbs. During such an active development, conditions and care are very important for tulips, which should compensate for any vagaries of the weather.

Tulip bulbs consist of a bottom and from one to six storage scales, covered with protective integumentary scales. Bulbs produce underground stolons, leaves and strong, juicy peduncles. Each bulb hides the kidneys laid in it, from which new bulbs are formed - the central (replacing bulb), daughter bulbs (from kidneys hidden in the axils of storage scales) and children developing in the axils of the covering scales.

The height of the flower stalks of tulips ranges from less than 30 cm to more than half a meter. The leaves are fleshy, grasping the stem, elongated-oval, solid, quite rigid, fading from the bottom to the topmost leaf. Up to 5 leaves sit on one stalk, although often tulips are limited to only two leaves.

Tulips most often produce single flowers, in the structure of which five concentric circles can be distinguished, obeying three-beam or triangular symmetry. They are easy to identify by the six-pointedness of the perianth: a flower always consists of six petals or six equal shares of simple tulips. Distinctive features of tulips are six also arranged in two circles, stamens, and a three-lobed stigma of a pestle. The flowers themselves in this bulbous are amazingly diverse - from simple to terry, goblet, lilac-colored, cupped, oval and even star-shaped to parrot and fantasy forms.

Colors are no less diverse. Tulips are plain and multicolor, pastel and bright, exotic and classic. White, pink, red, purple, yellow, orange are not the only options. The color scheme of tulips includes blue, and blue, and shades of green, and natural colors closest to black.

The flowering period of tulips starts from the first early varieties in April and ends only in June. Despite the extremely limited flowering period of each individual plant, the selection of tulip varieties allows you to stretch the parade of this bulbous star for almost 3 months. After flowering, dense fruit boxes ripen.

The variety of tulips is simply unimaginable. More than 100 natural species, the crossing of which gave rise to more than 17 thousand registered varieties, which in turn are divided into classes, groups, subclasses, categories ... Most tulips are derived from botanical plant species from the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe. Traditionally, Dutch tulips dominate the market, but dozens of new varieties appear almost every year in many garden centers around the world.

The only right criterion for choosing tulips is the purchase of plants according to your tastes and preferences, the choice primarily for aesthetic characteristics. After all, tulips really allow everyone to choose plants to their liking, making the collection as individual and vibrant as possible.

Growing Tulips.

The use of tulips in the design of the garden

Tulips are spring-blooming stars that have long been indispensable for the design of any garden. They are collected, used as small seasonal accents or turned into the main star of the spring garden. And grown only in groups, because single plants are easy to get lost.

Tulips are placed in islands, spots, strict in shape "pockets". If the plants are planted separately, they are placed so that it is then easy to fill the area with annual stars, most often with strict contours of the tulip area. On flower beds and in complex compositions, planting with strict forms or lines is inferior in popularity to placing these bulbs in irregular groups - from small "spots" of 5-7 bulbs to larger islands.

Tulips in the garden can be used:

  • on flower beds and front flower beds;
  • in rabatki;
  • in spring spots and islets on a lawn, under bushes and trees;
  • in borders and flower beds;
  • in annual flower beds;
  • in rock gardens and rockeries;
  • in pottery gardens, containers, flower girls both in the garden and on balconies, terraces, in room culture.

Tulips are a valuable cutting crop. They are expelled specially for the holidays and early spring, and are used for complex arrangements and simple bouquets.

Selection of partners for tulips

The status of one of the most common plants leaves its mark on the choice of partners: these bulbs are luxurious flowering spring accents, medium-sized, but stunningly beautiful stars that should always remain in the foreground. For tulips, there is no need to select partners to reveal their beauty, they are well combined with garden plants that can grow in conditions similar to them - from shrubs and trees to herbaceous perennials, other bulbous and tuberous plants, summers and seasonal stars. If tulips are introduced into flower beds, then they are combined with plants that can fill in the voids and then hide their withering greens.

The best partners for tulips from among grassy perennials are hosts, phlox, astilbe, garden geraniums, daylilies, cuffs, tenacious, arabis, and auretus. Among spring-flowering plants, tulips are most often combined with daffodils, forget-me-nots, violets, muscari and primroses, but tulips with hyacinths, anemones, and hellebore shade no worse than each other.

Species and varietal tulips - plants are different in terms of degree of decorativeness, size, variability, color of flowers, and in their endurance and unpretentiousness. Species tulips with rare exceptions are plants that you can "plant and forget." Their agricultural technology is much simpler and deserves separate consideration. Varietal tulips are less persistent, more fully reveal the beauty of flowering during the annual digging, and are vulnerable to diseases and pests. Growing varietal tulips is not such a difficult task. But there are many important nuances in plant care that should never be forgotten.

Conditions Required for Tulips

Bulbous favorites can be called undemanding plants only conditionally: tulips bloom and grow only in favorable conditions, for them lighting and soil characteristics are important.

Tulips are photophilous crops that are planted in sunny places or in diffused bright lighting. The later the tulip variety blooms, the better it tolerates light shading, but for varietal tulips, a sunny location is still more preferable. Tulips are not afraid of the proximity of large shrubs or trees, if the leaves of the latter bloom late and during flowering the bulbous ones will not suffer from severe shading.

For tulips, only high-quality, well-developed garden soils are suitable. This bulb is grown in sandstone and loam, loose, drained, light and nutritious soils. The soil reaction for tulips is very important: this bulbous does not tolerate an acidic environment, it is planted only in neutral or slightly alkaline soils. Before planting, the soil is adjusted to the optimal texture and composition. Tulips cannot stand fresh organics.

Plots for growing tulips should be flat or with a slight slope, warm, well warmed up. Plants are better protected not only from the risk of stagnation of water, but also from drafts or winds.

When choosing a place for growing tulips, it should be borne in mind that when growing for five consecutive years at the same place, the risks of plant infection with pests and diseases increase. Tulips are not planted after daffodils, lilies and other bulbs, often affected by the same viruses and diseases.

Late Tulip (Tulipa tarda)

Planting tulips

Preparation for planting tulips is best done in advance. Any organic fertilizer, except compost and humus, should be applied to the soil only a few years before planting, preferably under the previous crop. Pre-planting soil improvement boils down to several procedures:

  • deep digging (at least 30 cm, with a selection of weed roots);
  • correction of the composition of sandy and clay soils;
  • making humus or compost (2 buckets per square meter), wood ash (1 glass per square meter) and mineral fertilizers.

When improving the soil, a standard (40-60 g) portion of phosphorus-potassium fertilizers is introduced into it. Superphosphate can be poured to the bottom of planting pits or mixed with soil. Nitrogen fertilizers are best applied immediately before planting. If mineral fertilizers have not been applied to the soil in advance, then before planting, full mineral fertilizers are used in a proportion of 100 g per square meter of soil.

The preparation of the landing site is carried out at least a month before the planting of tulips. If the site has an increased risk of stagnation of water or groundwater is high, then a high drainage layer must be laid under the entire bed.

Tulips are planted from the third decade of August to the first decade of October. September is traditionally called the “tulip” month, but if the weather is favorable, then the timing of tulip planting can be extended. For the middle band, you can focus on temperature: tulips are planted when the temperature of the soil drops to 10 degrees Celsius at a depth of 10 cm.The late planting dates are determined so that the bulb has 20-30 days left until the frosts are firm for rooting.

Before you start planting in the soil, all the bulbs must be carefully re-examined. Any deviations in appearance, signs of damage or decay serve as the basis for rejection. Particular attention should be paid to traces of viral lesions and bulbous ticks.

Bulbs sorted by size should preferably be planted separately without mixing them together. Large and small bulbs are planted together only if they do not plan to dig them out annually.

Bulbs are also treated with fungicide solutions before planting (the classic version is a solution of potassium permanganate with a concentration of 0.5%). Etching is carried out for half an hour or an hour. Bulbs are planted without drying.

Tulips are planted depending on how large the group will be and what is the role of tulips on flower beds. If tulips are planted with a small spot or an island, then planting can be carried out in a large common shallow landing hole. When landing on a large area, landing is carried out in trenches. The depth of the pits or trenches for planting tulips is about 20 cm.

The distance between the bulbs when planting tulips depends on their size, and on whether they plan to dig up plants annually. If tulips are constantly planted and dug up, then plants can be placed densely to achieve a decorative effect or at an optimal density of 10-15 cm. When planting with a rarer excavation, the minimum distance between large bulbs is about 20 cm. Children are planted at a distance of 5- 15 cm. The optimal planting density is 50 large and up to 100 small tulip bulbs per square meter of plantings.

If the tulip bulbs are the same size, then planting is carried out in one step. If large and small bulbs are planted on one site, then at the beginning they install (for planting) larger bulbs, lightly cover them with earth, and then put smaller bulbs between them. There can be 2 or 3 of such "floors" when planting tulips.

Tulip bulbs are always set strictly horizontally, bottom to bottom. Planting depth ranges from 10 to 15 cm, but it is always best to use the universal rule and leave the distance between the bottom of the bulb and the soil surface at 3 height of the bulb on light and loose soils and 2 height of the bulb itself - for heavy and dense soils. Such a landmark will allow you to find the optimal depth individually for each tulip. The maximum depth for tulips is limited to 20 cm. Small onions can be sown, large and medium ones are always set individually. When planting tulips, you need to act carefully and minimize pressure on your bulb: indentation, the application of force, especially after pickling in fungicide solutions, leads to injuries of root buds and even the bottom of the bulb. Tulips are neatly laid, effortlessly fill the soil in the planting pits and compact it with watering rather than ramming.

After planting, tulips are prepared for winter in the same way as plants that are not dug from the soil, according to general rules.

Planting tulips in containers and various containers is carried out at the same time as in the soil. Plants are planted in the fall in a high-quality, loose, nutritious substrate to the optimum depth, most often in tiers with smaller bulbous crops. Drainage is required. Bulbs in containers are stored in a cold and dark room or with careful shelter in the garden. Expose to the light and heat of the tank only after the appearance of the first sprouts.

Planting tulip bulbs.

Tulip requirements for moisture and watering

Like all bulbs, tulips can not stand dampness and waterlogging. But drought tolerant crops are difficult to call. In the active period of bulb development and ripening, tulips need stable light soil moisture, because their extremely rapid development, the structural features of the root system require a large supply of moisture and really regular watering.

In the spring, before the start of budding, watering for the plant is carried out only in dry weather. Systemic watering for tulips begins to be carried out only from the stage of budding. The classic frequency for a tulip is considered to be 1 plentiful watering per week (from 10 to 40 liters of water per square meter of plantings), but you should always focus on the state of the soil at the depth of the roots. Watering is completed not immediately after flowering, but two weeks later so that the plants do not experience problems with access to moisture during the formation of the replacement bulb.

When watering tulips, it is worthwhile to ensure that the leaves of the plant are not soaked, watering in the aisles. Tulips are watered in the early morning or evening according to standard rules, not cold water.

Fertilizers for tulips

It is impossible to grow varietal tulips without top dressing. In order to admire the luxurious flowers that fully reveal the beauty of each variety, it is necessary to create conditions in which plants will not lack nutrients. But at the same time, tulips do not like excess fertilizers, salt accumulations in the soil. The golden mean in top dressing for these bulbs helps to find systemic but moderate procedures.

Tulips prefer easily digestible fertilizers dissolved in water. It is possible to scatter mineral fertilizers in the soil, but only by combining it with abundant watering and eliminating the risk of any particles of fertilizer getting on leaves that must be dry, so you need to work very carefully).

Fertilizers for tulips are applied several times per season:

In early spring

The first feeding for tulips is carried out as early as possible, applying fertilizer in the snow or immediately after it is gone. For early spring feeding, use a half-reduced portion of complete mineral fertilizers (15-30 g per square meter of plantings). Instead of universal fertilizers, you can use special mixtures for bulbs or tulips, a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers in a ratio of 2: 2: 1 in an amount of 40-45 g.

At the budding stage

The second top dressing for tulips is introduced at the stage of formation of the flower stem and bud, supporting their normal development. For this top dressing, you can use only phosphorus-potassium fertilizers (25-35 g) or a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers with a different ratio - 1: 2: 2.

After flowering

This top dressing is carried out to support the development of the daughter bulb and the optimal aging of the bulbs in the winter. It is advisable to fertilize exactly one week after the plants bloom, but you can add it at the peak or at the end of flowering. For the third top dressing, only phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are used in an amount of 30-35 g per square meter of soil.

For small tulips and bulbs, children on growing it is better to limit themselves to only two top dressings - spring and at the stage of budding.

Tulips prefer ammonium nitrate, double superphosphate and potassium nitrate, complex preparations for onions, containing not only macro, but also trace elements (boron, zinc for tulips are especially important).

Tulips, like many other bulbs, themselves signal improper feeding and nutrient requirements. All three macronutrients are equally important for these bulbs. Therefore, it is impossible to reduce or eliminate nitrogen to obtain better flowering in these bulbs. With a lack of nitrogen, tulips become smaller, narrower and droop, leaf blades lose their elasticity, flower stalks turn red, bulb replacement is disrupted. With a lack of potassium or phosphorus, tulips also signal this with their leaves, on the edges of which a bluish color appears, flowering and the root system suffer. If you take measures in time and carry out additional dressings, you can prevent these problems in the development of plants and prevent the lack of certain nutrients also affect flowering and reproduction.

Germinated tulip bulbs.

Tulips Trimming

Tulips develop rapidly, but with the end of flowering, they also quickly lose their decorative effect. Fading yellowing foliage will not decorate any composition, even in a natural style. But, like all bulbs, the leaves of tulips can not be cut off, they cannot be removed until they die off, because otherwise the process of storing nutrients and bulb ripening will be disrupted.

In the cultivation of varietal tulips, the restriction of fruiting plays a very important role. The formation of a seed box in tulips most often leads to the fact that a full-fledged replacement bulb is not formed, the plant "breaks up" into a nest of very small bulbs capable of fully blooming only after a few years. In order for the tulips not to grow smaller, the varieties should not tolerate fruiting, promptly removing wilted flowers after the beginning of withering of the petals.

Pruning tulip flowers - the task is not as simple as it seems:

Cut for bouquets

It is carried out in the early morning, in a state of tightly closed buds, cutting the stem at an angle. For bouquets, it is preferable to cut off the buds that have just begun to stain. Tulips are kept in cool and partial shade, sections are renewed under water before plants are placed in water.

Cut fading flowers

It is better to carry out it immediately after the petals begin to wither and without waiting for complete withering. In contrast to cutting into bouquets, it is better not to cut withered flowers with a sharp knife, but gently pick them off with your hands.


Removing buds and preventing flowering from tulips allows you to grow small bulbs or propagate rare varieties more efficiently, stimulating the growth of roots and daughter bulbs. It is too early to remove the flowers: decapitation is carried out several days after the opening of the bud.

With any cut of peduncles, leaves should not be removed. At least two leaves should remain on the stem for full ripening of the bulbs and laying the flower buds.

Extra Tulip Care

The following procedures are important components of tulip care:

Soil loosening

Starting from the first loosening procedures after snow melting and the appearance of the first sprouts to the procedures after each heavy watering or rain, regular loosening allows you to maintain an optimal environment for tulips, to maintain water and air permeability of the soil. For tulips, the formation of a soil crust should not be allowed, but loosening should be done carefully, trying not to work in the immediate vicinity of the bulb.

Weed tulips

The structural features of tulips require constant weed control. After all, they do not create so many leaves that oppress the weeds or hide the empty soil between the plants. Weeds need to be weeded often, destroying them at a young age, combining weeding with the cultivation procedure. For large plantings, you can use special herbicides, but it is better to limit yourself to conventional mechanical weeding.

Tulip Development Monitoring

Tulips need attention, and it does not always have to appear in standard procedures. These bulbs should be monitored, noting the first signs of developmental disability, health problems or uncomfortable conditions. Regular inspection of leaves, flowers, peduncles will prevent any troubles at an early stage.

The most important procedure in monitoring tulip planting is considered spring. After the plants begin to actively develop, they need to be monitored. Usually, the first assessment is carried out as soon as the soil warms up and the first shoots appear, noting signs of stunted growth and removing plants that do not germinate. At the slightest sign of damage to plants by diseases, such specimens are immediately destroyed and removed not only together with the roots, but also together with a fairly large earthen lump. After removing the diseased tulips, the soil is treated with a fungicide, at least with a solution of simple potassium permanganate to prevent the spread of diseases.

Inspections continue throughout the active vegetation and flowering. Affected by viruses and diseases, specimens are carefully removed, being careful not to damage neighboring plants. A particularly thorough assessment is always carried out after flowering. But if you collect tulips and carefully control their varietal affiliation, then the varietal cleaning should be carried out at the height of flowering, noting dubious specimens and impurities, so that later you can separate the plants and restore varietal purity.

Any parts of tulips dug up due to suspected infection, as well as dry parts of plants, are not sent to compost, but destroyed.

Pruning peduncles and tulip leaves.

Digging tulips and preserving outside the soil

Any varietal tulips allow you to get a "guaranteed" luxurious flowering only with an annual dig. Varieties with unusual colors and flower shape are especially capricious. Older varieties of tulips, as well as plants with "ordinary" flowers, can be grown not with an annual, but with a slightly rarer excavation. But still, less than 1 time in 2-4 years, it is not advisable to dig out tulips. If tulips do not plan to dig in the summer, then top dressing and planting depth are of particular importance to them.

Excavation of tulips is carried out when the leaves begin to turn yellow, but the tulips still do not completely disappear. Usually the simplest reference points for excavation are:

  • stem elasticity (it becomes soft and wraps around the finger);
  • the color of the bulbs themselves (scales) becomes light brown).

But it is quite possible to focus on the beginning of yellowing of foliage. Early digging is dangerous, because the bulbs are not ripe enough and will be worse stored, bloom, multiply. The late excavation is complicated by the fact that the search for bulbs will turn into a lottery: small bulbs in the nests will “scatter” or deepen. The traditional dates for excavation are the third decade of June and the first decade of July.

Tulips are carefully dug up, especially those plants whose flowers were chopped or specimens that did not produce peduncles at all, which can be considered a signal either about "pulling" into the ground, or about chopping them. It is advisable to dig tulips with a large supply of soil in depth to eliminate the risk of damage to even the smallest bulbs. Digging with analysis of groups and varieties (at least with division into early, middle and late tulips) will simplify the process of sorting them.

Dug tulips sprinkled in boxes or containers in one or two layers for drying in the shade in a ventilated, cool place. After 1-2 days, they are carefully released from the soil and cleaned of residual roots, old leaves, scales, and non-decayed nests are separated. Before sending for storage, it is advisable to etch tulips in a fungicide solution as well as before planting.

Sorting tulips is a must when growing varieties. Tulips must be grouped not only by variety name, color palette and other flowering characteristics, but also by bulb size. Typically, six analyzes of tulips are distinguished by the diameter of the bulb: extra-sized bulbs (from 4 cm), the first parsing (3.5-4 cm), the second parsing (3-3.5 cm), the third parsing (2.5-3, 0 cm), children of the first category (from 1.5 to 2.5 cm) and children of the second category (up to 1.5 cm). But you can use a simplified system of large (from 2.5 cm) and small (less than 2, 5 cm) bulbs If the collection is large, it is better to make your own template for measuring the diameter of the bulbs.

Store tulips in boxes or ventilated boxes in a cool, dark room with good ventilation. It is believed that for tulips the temperature is almost not important, but in fact, control of the storage temperature allows you to get much better flowering and ripening. Tulips should be stored for a month at an air temperature of 23-25 ​​degrees, then for several weeks, in August, the temperature is lowered to 20 degrees, and before planting in September, the bulbs are kept in coolness for about 16 degrees.

During the entire shelf life outside the soil, the bulbs should be regularly inspected and discarded for any suspicious or diseased specimens.

Wintering Tulips

Tulips belong to frost-resistant bulbous. They do not need protection for the winter, but only with a sufficient level of snow. To protect against temperature changes, unstable conditions, snowless periods, it is better to mulch the plantings.

As a mulch for tulips, it is better to use compost, peat, sawdust, straw or humus. The optimum shelter height is from 5-8 to 10-15 cm. A mulching layer is created only after stable night frosts are established, the soil begins to freeze.

Removing mulch in spring is only possible after snow melts and if leaves or straw are used (organic matter is left on the garden bed and cultivated in the soil when loosened).

Storage of tulip bulbs before planting in the ground.

Pests and diseases of tulips

Tulips are the most popular, but far from the most hardy garden bulbs. And for varietal plants, diseases are considered the main cause of loss of bulbs and plant death. True, it is worth considering that almost always diseases are the result of improper selection of conditions or care that does not correspond to the characteristics of the plant, including lack of vigilance. If you follow the rules of planting and storage, carry out watering and top dressing on time, inspect bulbs and plants, then the risk of these problems will be minimal.

Very often, tulips suffer from fusarium (it manifests itself in yellowing and drying of leaves and flower stalks, browning and drying of bulbs, weak grayish plaque), gray rot (usually on heavy soils, in wet weather it covers the aerial parts of tulips like fire), rhizoctonic diseases and rhizoctoniosis (orange-brown spots and stripes).
Also found on tulips:

  • penicillosis (scales turn yellow, buds and peduncles rot);
  • bacteriosis (bulbs rot and turn brown);
  • variegation (spots and stripes on the leaves, giving the plant originality, but leading to a slowdown in metabolism, growth retardation, rapid yellowing of greenery);
  • August disease or necrotic spotting (sunken spots on the bulbs, brown cracking dry strokes on the leaves);
  • root rot (almost imperceptible or with serious distribution leads to dwarfism, loss of decorativeness);
  • botrythic rot (dull flowers, soft and dark bulbs) and other types of rot.

In violation of the terms of digging, forcing out plants, other problems can also be observed - drooping peduncles, blind buds, calcareous diseases, gum disease, etc.

When tulips are affected by viruses and fungal diseases, the struggle is waged by highly specialized or systemic fungicides, multiple processing and pickling of bulbs. Nevertheless, the destruction of infected specimens with prophylactic treatments of other plants remains the most effective method of control.

Pests for tulips are far from rare. This plant can be affected not only by root pests - nutcracker beetles, bear, onion mites, greenhouse aphids, onion beetles, wireworms, lilac jays, like tulips and slugs with snails. It is easy to determine damage by soil pests: the leaves on the plant turn yellow and dry. Fighting insects is quite difficult. Cutting out damaged parts of the bulb, etching in insecticides, and isolating plants from the rest of the collection can save the plants. But, as a rule, it is easier and less risky to destroy damaged bulbs and replace them with new ones.

Propagation of tulips

Vegetative methods are basic for the propagation of all tulips. The easiest option is to separate the daughter bulbs and plant them as independent plants. Daughter bulbs are formed at tulips annually, at the base of scales. When transplanting, the nests are separated and all plants are used as independent.

The seed method is used only for plant breeding and breeding of new varieties, mainly for species of wild-growing tulips, private gardeners use it very rarely. Tulip seedlings bloom only after 4, or even 6-7 years after sowing. Plants are grown in containers for the first few years until at least a small bulb is formed that is suitable for classic planting in the ground.